Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

See other formats


THE   CHRISTIAN   A3SJD    HISTORICAL    STUDY

by a great amount of charity—a greater amount than
has sometimes seemed to be available. He might argue
tjaat, where charity is defective, there is liable to be a
special rigidity in religious morality or convention^ a
rigidity which has made Christians or ecclesiastics lag
behind other people sometimes on ethical points on
which Churchmen of the twentieth century have come
to lay great store. An hostile observer might even
point out how the insistence upon what is due to God—
in the matter of actual property and wealth, for example
—has been used to cover ecclesiastical interests of an
extremely earthy nature, and even abuses of a glaring
land.

Three things, however, seem to illustrate the import-
ance of Christianity in that mundane history which is
under discussion—the importance of the particular
religion which presided over the rise of what ,we call
our Western civilisation. They all spring from the
very nature of the Christian gospel itself and their effects
on our civilisation are merely the inddental results of
the ordinary religious activity of the Church—they ate
not a sample or a vindication of the mundane policies
of ecclesiastics. They are by-products of the missionary
and spiritual work of the Church,, and it is not clear
that the same mundane benefits would.accrue if men set
out with the object of procuring the mundane benefits—
if men worked with their eyes on the by-products them-
selves. They show that the Church has best served
civilisation not on the occasions when it had civilisation
as its conscious object, but when it was most intent on
the salvation of souls and most content to leave the rest

151